10 observations: Blackhawks drop series opener to Predators

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Charlie Roumeliotis
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10 observations: Blackhawks drop series opener to Preds originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks fell to the Nashville Predators 5-2 on Monday at Bridgestone Arena.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. The Blackhawks fell to 0-4-2 against the Predators this season and have not held a lead in any of the last five games. That's 305 straight minutes of hockey where the game has been tied or the Predators have led.

2. The turning point of the game occurred in the opening minute of the third period when the Predators scored two goals in a span of 18 seconds to extend their lead to 5-2. The Blackhawks had some momentum going into the intermission, too, after pulling within one just past the midway mark. But they never had an opportunity to capitalize on it in the third period.

3. The breakdown on Nashville's fourth and fifth goals was highly unfortunate for the Blackhawks. Connor Murphy lost his helmet and, by rule, he must skate immediately to the bench or put it back on. He elected to go back to the bench and it eventually freed up Tanner Jeannot, who scored to make it 4-2. And on Luke Kunin's goal, Duncan Keith blew a tire and couldn't get back in time to prevent the chance. 

4. Head coach Jeremy Colliton doesn't like using timeouts unless it's at the very end of a game. He also doesn't like making an in-game goalie change. But he was forced to do the latter after Kevin Lankinen gave up the fifth goal, presumably to keep him fresh for Wednesday's contest. But it will be interesting to see if Colliton will turn to Subban, who's coming off a 29-save shutout.

5. The Blackhawks gave up the first goal for the fifth time in six games against the Predators. They evened things up at 1-1 but quickly fell into a 3-1 hole when the Predators scored two goals in a span of 51 seconds in the first half of the middle frame. Quick strikes back-to-back really cost the Blackhawks in this one.

6. After going goalless in his first 45 games of the season, David Kampf is finally on the board. It was his first tally since March 3, 2020, a span of 49 games. It should be noted that Kampf also won 13 of 16 faceoffs for a win percentage of 81.3. The rest of his teammates were 12-for-36 for a win percentage of 33.3.

7. Alex DeBrincat scored his 23rd goal of the season, which pulled him into a tie for fourth among all NHL skaters. But it was Pius Suter who made a terrific dish on the play to set things up. It was only the second power-play goal the Blackhawks have scored against Nashville this season. They were 1-for-15 in the previous five games.

8. Calvin de Haan returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with a hip pointer. He was paired with Connor Murphy on the top pairing and had four shot attempts (three on goal), two blocked shots and one giveaway in 21:55 of ice time.

9. Brandon Hagel was not available for this game because he was awaiting COVID-19 test results. Adam Gaudette, who was acquired at the NHL trade deadline from Vancouver for Matthew Highmore, made his Chicago debut and played on the first line with Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat. He registered a primary assist on Kampf's goal and finished with four shot attempts (one on goal) in 7:39 of ice time.

10. Wyatt Kalynuk logged only two shifts before exiting with a left hip injury. He took a hit from Jeannot at the end of his second shift and did not return. The Blackhawks essentially played the entire game with only five defensemen.

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